Blackhawks

Blackhawks make seven picks in 2015 NHL Draft

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Blackhawks make seven picks in 2015 NHL Draft

SUNRISE, Fla. – Roy Radke had just been drafted by the Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon but he was already well acquainted with several players currently in the system.

“I’m good friends with Ryan Hartman, Anthony Louis, Vinny Hinostroza,” said Radke, who hails from Geneva, about an hour west of Chicago. “I grew up with all of those guys.”

The number of NHL prospects who either grew up near Chicago or who played in Chicago-area leagues is increasing, and the Blackhawks added another to their group when they drafted Radke with their sixth-round (164th overall) selection on Saturday. Mark Kelley, the Blackhawks’ senior director of amateur scouting, said it’s not necessarily the team’s plan to take kids from the area. It’s just those local kids have filled needs the past few years.

“I think what it’s really a product of us so many good players are coming from Chicago,” Kelley said.

[MORE HAWKS: Blackhawks trade G Antti Raanta to Rangers for F Ryan Haggerty]

And the Blackhawks aren’t the only team taking notice of Chicago-area kids. The Arizona Coyotes drafted Christian Fischer of Wayne, also about an hour from Chicago, with the 32nd overall pick.

“The youth program’s taken off there tremendously, and a lot is [due to] the Blackhawks,” Fischer said. “The kids go to the games, they see the whole deal there and they want to play. They have four travel teams there, a lot of guys coming in from Chicago. I think the Hawks have a lot to do with that.”

Radke is new to the Blackhawks organization but he’s already among friends, thanks to Chicago’s burgeoning hockey scene.

“Since Chicago’s been so good recently, a lot of young kids have been trying to play hockey in the area. That’s why it’s expanding so much,” Radke said. “I’ve always loved the Blackhawks, so it’s a dream come true.”

SIZEABLE DRAFT

The Blackhawks got a little bit of everything from everywhere at Day 2 of the NHL Draft.

“This year we have a Slovakian, a Finnish kid, a Swedish kid, a Chicago kid, a Buffalo kid, a Boston kid,” Kelley said. “There’s seven of them, so it’s a United Nations.”

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All locations aside, the Blackhawks were happy with their draft, which didn’t begin until Saturday morning when they selected Ontario native Graham Knott with the 54th overall (second-round) pick.

Knott had 25 goals and 18 assists in 59 games with the Niagara IceDogs (OHL) in 2014-15. The Blackhawks took four forwards and three defensemen. They also acquired something else that they’ve been lacking: size. Five of their picks are 6-foot-2 or taller.

“Any time you get size it’s nice,” Kelley said. “We’re always looking for players we think are smart and can skate. I think this year those guys are big, also.”

Rounds Player Position Country Amateur League Amateur Team
Round 2, 54th overall pick Graham Knott LW Canada OHL Niagara
Round 3, 91st overall pick Dennis Gilbert D United States USHL Chicago
Round 4, 121st overall pick Ryan Shea D United States HIGH-MA Boston College H.S.
Round 5, 151st overall pick Radovan Bondra RW Slovakia SLOVAKIA Kosice
Round 6, 164th overall pick Roy Radke RW United States OHL Barrie
Round 6, 181st overall pick Joni Tuulola D Finland FINLAND HPK
Round 7, 211th overall pick John Dahlstrom RW Sweden SWEDEN-JR. Frolunda Jr.

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?